Lot 239: Johannes Stark

RR Auction

2015-10-06 13:04:58

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Lot 239: ALS in German, signed "Stark," one page both sides, 5.5 x 8.5, December 5, 1926. Letter to German experimental physicist Ernst Gehrcke concerning a demonstration of the so-called Stark effect, the shifting and splitting of spectral lines of atoms and molecules due to presence of an external electric field. In part (translated): "I am pleased that you wish to pursue my suggestion. It seems to me that the polarization of light emission is important enough to serve as the subject of numerous investigations….Together with my old college friend von Hirsch [the physicist and chemist Rudolf von Hirsch], I am currently testing some recent obscure experiments. One of them is to involve the tube you indicated to 'demonstrate the Stark effect.' Your note mentioned that you were able to obtain such a tube, ready for use, from the glass-blower Lenz. It is of great importance to me that I obtain the tube as soon as possible….Lenz is to attach particular importance to careful packing, so that the electrode mounts are not broken off by sudden jolts." Diagonal creases to lower left and a couple trivial edge tears, otherwise fine condition. With excellent scientific content, discussing his most important scientific work and continuing experimentation with light emission, this is a remarkable letter from the start of Stark's controversial shift from physics to politics. RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 462 Wednesday, 14th October 2015 Estimate: $2000-3000
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